Updated 04 March 2016

We spoke to Discovery Vitality's CEO about recent changes to rewards

Dr Shrey Viranna told us about fitness tracking apps that will be delisted, and just how high different users will have to get their heart rates to earn points.


To keep track of their fitness goals and to get more rewards, like a discount on Apple Watch payments, many Discovery users utilise fitness tracking apps, but the Health Insurance Company has now made changes to which apps you can use to do so.

They have also increased heart rate percentages, so you will have to sweat a bit more to get those points. 

Read : Why medical aid costs are soaring in SA

We spoke to Discovery Vitality CEO, Dr Shrey Viranna, about the when, how and why of it all: 
Health 24: Why has Discovery delisted adidas miCoach, Moves, RunKeeper, Strava, MapMyFitness and Timex? 

Shrey Viranna: They have not been delisted yet but we sent out a newsletter to members to let them now that they will be on 2 April 2016. They have been delisted because they allow third party data integration without independent validation. 

Health 24: Can you confirm if there is any truth to claims that users were giving falsified data? If so, how was this done? And will they be penalised? 

Shrey Viranna: Ah well we definitely have seen it in some of our data sets, and we picked it up in other forms like social media that people are doing that. It’s quite broad, and I don’t think that there’s a specific example…

We have definitely picked up on data anomalies … speed duration that don't match with a runner or cyclist (or) like step counters for two people in the family with identical data or people will report data for two races that start at the same time on the same day in two different provinces.

(In terms of penalties) we have a general approach that we highlight it with members… we don’t penalise them per se. We hope that people will rectify their behaviour (after the notification).

Read : The best medical aid in SA

Health 24: Are there free alternatives for the affected users? 

Shrey Viranna: There are free apps that fit the criteria that are integrated with us. 

Health 24: Will members be rewarded fewer points (or none) if their heart rate is too low while working out? How exactly does that work? 

Shrey Viranna: Vitality has always been based off of a clinical set of guidelines and what you are referring to is the ACSM as well as national guidelines, (which) define a fairly moderate heart rate to age-related heart rate of 64%–76% of their maximum for at least at least 30 minutes.

We are in the middle of the range of just below (those guidelines at 70%)… we want to encourage people to get active. We’re not discouraging people with unattainable goals – that is the opposite of what we want to do. These are achievable goals. We have adapted our guidelines to motivate behaviour. We want to encourage a shift in health. 

Read : 20 claims schemes don’t have to pay for

The table that Discovery uses : 

Discovery Heart Rate Table

Read : Hospital plan vs. medical scheme

And a video from the ACSM about heart rate based training: 

 Read more :

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